The Black Lab......

Discussion in 'Personal Gallery' started by Aaron Brooks Wolters, Aug 12, 2009.

  1. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2007
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    I don't know if this has been posted before. If it has I apologize. A very good friend of mine sent it to me today. I don't know how true it is or if it's true at all, but I was very moved by it. It may be just a hoax, if so, let me know.

    The Black Lab....

    They told me the big black Lab's name was Reggie
    as I looked at him lying in his pen. the shelter was
    clean, no-kill, and the people really friendly.
    I'd only been in the area for six months, but everywhere
    I went in the small college town, people were welcoming and
    open. Everyone waves when you pass them on the

    But something was still missing as I attempte d to
    settle in to my new life here, and I thought a dog
    couldn't hurt. Give me someone to talk to.
    And I had just seen Reggie's advertisement on the local
    news. The shelter said they had received numerous
    calls right after, but they said the people who had come
    down to see him just didn't look like "Lab
    people," whatever that meant. They must've
    thought I did.

    But at first, I thought the shelter had misjudged me
    in giving me Reggie and his things, which consisted of a dog
    pad, bag of toys almost all of which were brand new tennis
    balls, his dishes, and a sealed letter from his previous
    owner. See, Reggie and I didn't really hit it off
    when we got home. We struggled for two weeks which is
    how long the shelter told me to give him to adjust to his
    new home. Maybe it was the fact that I was trying to
    adjust too. Maybe we were too much alike.

    For some reason, his stuff (except for the tennis
    balls - he wouldn't go anywhere without two stuffed in
    his mouth) got tossed in with all of my other unpacked
    boxes. I guess I didn't really think he'd need
    all his old stuff, that I'd get him new things once he
    settled in. but it became pretty clear pretty soon
    that he wasn't going to.

    I tried the normal commands the shelter told me he
    knew, ones like "sit" and "stay" and
    "come" and "heel," and he'd follow
    them - when he felt like it. He never really seemed to
    listen when I called his name - sure, he'd look in my
    direction after the fourth of fifth time I said it, but then
    he'd just go back to doing whatever. When I'd
    ask again, you could almost see him sigh and then grudgingly

    This just wasn't going to work. He chewed a
    couple shoes and some unpacked boxes. I was a little
    too stern with him and he resented it, I could tell.
    The friction got so bad that I couldn't wait for the two
    weeks to be up, and when it was, I was in full-on search
    mode for my cellphone amid all of my unpacked stuff. I
    remembered leaving it on the stack of boxes for the guest
    room, but I also mumbled, rather cynically, that the
    "dog probably hid it on me."

    Finally I found it, but before I could punch up the
    shelter's number, I also found his pad and other toys
    from the shelter.. I tossed the pad in Reggie's
    direction and he snuffed it and wagged, some of the most
    enthusiasm I'd seen since bringing him home. But
    then I called, "Hey, Reggie, you like that? Come
    here and I'll give you a treat." Instead, he
    sort of glanced in my direction - maybe "glared"
    is more accu rate - and then gave a discontented sigh and
    flopped down. With his back to me.

    Well, that's not going to do it either, I
    thought. And I punched the shelter phone number.
    But I hung up when I saw the sealed envelope. I
    had completely forgotten about that, too. "Okay,
    Reggie," I said out loud, "let's see if
    your previous owner has any advice.".........

    Whoever Gets My Dog:
    Well, I can't say that I'm
    happy you're reading this, a letter I told the shelter
    could only be opened by Reggie's new owner.
    I'm not even happy writing it. If you're
    reading this, it means I just got back from my last car ride
    with my Lab after dropping him off at the shelter. He
    knew something was different. I have packed up his pad
    and toys before and set them by the back door before a trip,
    but this time... it's like he knew something was
    wrong. And something is wrong... which is why I have
    to go to try to make it right.
    So let me tell you about my Lab in
    the hopes that it will help you bond with him and he with
    First, he loves tennis balls.
    the more the merrier. Sometimes I think he's part
    squirrel, the way he hordes them. He usually always
    has two in his mouth, and he tries to get a third in
    there. Hasn't done it yet. Doesn't
    matter where you throw them, he'll bound after it, so be
    careful - really don't do it by any roads. I made
    that mistake once, and it almost cost him

    Next, commands. Maybe the
    shelter staff already told you, but I'll go over them
    again: Reggie knows the obvious ones -
    "sit," "stay," "come,"
    "heel." He knows hand signals:
    "back" to turn around and go back when you put
    your hand straight up; and "over" if you put your
    hand out right or left. "Shake" for shaking
    water off, and "paw" for a high-five. He
    does "down" when he feels like lying down - I bet
    you could work on that with him some more. He knows
    "ball" and "food" and "bone"
    and "treat" like nobody's
  2. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2007
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    I trained Reggie with small food
    treats. Nothing opens his ears like little pieces of
    hot dog.

    Feeding schedule: twice a
    day, once about seven in the morning, and again at six in
    the evening. Regular store-bought stuff; the shelter
    has the brand.

    He's up on his shots.
    Call the clinic on 9th Street and update his info with
    yours; they'll make sure to send you reminders for when
    he's due. Be forewarned: Reggie hates the
    vet. Good luck getting him in the car - I don't
    know how he knows when it's time to go to the vet, but
    he knows.

    Finally, give him some time.
    I've never been married, so it's only been Reggie
    and me for his whole life. He's gone everywhere
    with me, so please include him on your daily car rides if
    you can. He sits well in the backseat, and he
    doesn't bark or complain. He just loves to be
    around people, and me most especially.
    Which means that this transition is
    going to be hard, with him going to live with someone

    And that's why I need to share
    one more bit of info with you....

    His name's not
    I don't know what made me do
    it, but when I dropped him off at the shelter, I told them
    his name was Reggie. He's a smart dog, he'll
    get used to it and will respond to it, of that I have no
    doubt. but I just couldn't bear to give them his
    real name. For me to do that, it seemed so final, that
    handing him over to the shelter was as good as me admitting
    that I'd never see him again. And if I end up
    coming back, getting him, and tearing up this letter, it
    means everything's fine. But if someone else is
    reading it, well... well it means that his new owner should
    know his real name. It'll help you bond with
    him. Who knows, maybe you'll even notice a change
    in his demeanor if he's been giving you

    His real name is Tank.

    Because that is what I

    Again, if you're reading this
    and you're from the area, maybe my name has been on the
    news. I told the shelter that they couldn't make
    "Reggie" available for adoption until they
    received word from my company commander. See, my
    parents are gone, I have no siblings, no one I could've
    left Tank with... and it was my only real request of the
    Army upon my deployment to Iraq , that they make one phone
    call the the shelter... in the "event"... to tell
    them that Tank could be put up for adoption. Luckily,
    my colonel is a dog guy, too, and he knew where my platoon
    was headed. He said he'd do it
    personally. And if you're reading this, then
    he made good on his word.

    Well, this letter is getting to
    downright depressing, even though, frankly, I'm just
    writing it for my dog. I couldn't imagine if I was
    writing it for a wife and kids and family. but still,
    Tank has been my family for the last six years, almost as
    long as the Army has been my family.

    And now I hope and pray that you
    make him part of your family and that he will adjust and
    come to love you the same way he loved me.

    That unconditional love from a dog
    is what I took with me to Iraq as an inspiration to do
    something selfless, to protect innocent people from those
    who would do terrible things... and to keep those terrible
    people from coming over here. If I had to give up Tank
    in order to do it, I am glad to have done so. He was
    my example of service and of love. I hope I honored
    him by my service to my country and comrades.

    All right, that's enough.
    I deploy this evening and have to drop this letter off at
    the shelter. I don't think I'll say another
    good-bye to Tank, though. I cried too much the first
    time. Maybe I'll peek in on him and see if he
    finally got that third tennis ball in his

    Good luck with Tank. Give him
    a good home, and give him an extra kiss goodnight - every
    night - from me.

    Thank you, Paul

    I folded
    the letter and slipped it back in the envelope. Sure I
    had heard of Paul Mallory, everyone in town knew him, even
    new people like me. Local kid, killed in Iraq a few
    months a go and posthumously earning the Silver Star when he
    gave his life to save three buddies. Flags had been at
    half-mast all summer.
    I leaned forward in my chair and rested my elbows on
    my knees, staring at the dog.

    "Hey, Tank," I said quietly.

    The dog's head whipped up, his ears cocked and his
    eyes bright.

    "C'mere boy."
    He was instantly on his feet, his nails clicking on
    the hardwood floor. He sat in front of me, his head
    tilted, searching for the name he hadn't heard in
    "Tank," I whispered

    His tail swished.

    I kept whispering his name, over and over, and each
    time, his ears lowered, his eyes softened, and his posture
    relaxed as a wave of contentment just seemed to flood
    him. I stroked his ears, rubbed his shoulders, buried
    my face into his scruff and hugged him.

    "It's me now, Tank, just you and me.
    Your old pal gave you to me." Tank reached up and
    licked my cheek. "So whatdaya say we play some
    ball? His ears perked again.
    "Yeah? Ball? You like that?
    Ball?" Tank tore from my hands and
    disappeared in the next room.

    And when he came back, he had three tennis balls in
    his mouth.!!!
  3. diddyriddick

    diddyriddick Active Member

    May 29, 2009
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    Wow! If that won't bring a tear to your eye, nothing will! Thanks for sharing it.
  4. Catch22

    Catch22 Well-Known Member

    Jun 13, 2007
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    Geeze! You should have warned me, I'm at work! Normally stuff doesn't get to me...
  5. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

    Jun 10, 2004
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    Very cool...........
  6. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2007
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    Sorry guys, it had me crying like a baby. Just one of those stories that rocked me.:oops:
  7. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

    Apr 10, 2009
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    Good Lord, this is as sad as "Old Yeller"

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